NASHVILLE Tenn. (Reuters) - Singer Miranda Lambert won four Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday, and Luke Bryan took home the top honor as entertainer of the year as U.S. politics and the absence of Taylor Swift played supporting roles in the televised ceremony.
Lambert, 30, who led all nominees with nine nods, earned her record fifth female vocalist of the year award.
“I don’t know what to say. I can’t believe I‘m standing here. I can’t believe this is my life,” an emotional Lambert said accepting the award she has won five consecutive years. “Damn it! I cry every time.”
The Texan also won CMA Awards for album of the year for “Platinum,” single of the year for the wistful “Automatic” as well as sharing the musical event of the year award with Aussie singer Keith Urban for “We Were Us.”
Bryan, 38, earned his first CMA on the back of five hits from his 2013 album “Crash My Party.”
“I have long sought to have one of these in my hands,” Bryan told reporters.
The 48th annual CMA awards show, which competes with the springtime’s Academy of Country Music Awards for prestige and television audience, is one of the top promotional events on the country music calendar. Winners are chosen by the CMA’s 6,000 members.
Blake Shelton, Lambert’s husband, also won his fifth consecutive male vocalist of the year award.
Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood’s show opening drew attention to the absence of Swift, who has shed her country roots for pop music, with a comical song about “Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder,” or PPTSD.
Underwood and Paisley’s joke that President Barack Obama not caring about PPTSD contributed to Republicans winning the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, drawing strong cheers from the audience.
The duo sang “Quarantine” to the tune of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Jolene”, poking fun at nurse Kaci Hickox, who defied her Ebola quarantine order.
Paisley drew criticism on social media for a joke referencing TV sitcom “Black-ish”, about an upper-middle-class African-American family.
“If you were looking for ‘Black-ish’ tonight, yeah, this ain’t it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy White-ish,” Paisley said about the mostly white world of country music.
Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” won the songwriters’ award song of the year, sharing the award with fellow songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally.
Noted for its gay-friendly message and references to marijuana, “Follow Your Arrow” is a thematic outlier in the conservative-leaning country music world.
“Do you guys realize what this means for country music?” Musgraves said when accepting the award with Clark and McAnally. “Our genre was built on simple good songs about real life and that’s what this was.”
Dierks Bentley won best music video for his hit “Drunk on a Plane.” Florida Georgia Line won vocal duo of the year, while Little Big Town took home the glass CMA award for vocal group.
Brett Eldredge, 28, won new artist of the year.
Writing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Bernard Orr and Robert Birsel